Written by Chiaoning Su and Wei-Ping Li. From sophisticated disinformation campaigns to patriotic trolling and clickbait, the flood of mis/disinformation has become a global phenomenon. Studies have shown that Taiwan’s young democracy ranks as one of the countries most exposed to misleading viewpoints or false information from foreign forces, especially China. These campaigns often seek to demonise high-profile Taiwanese politicians and divide Taiwanese society. They also aim to steer Taiwan away from anti-China policies or international alliances, notably with the United States.
Who are the Allies of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)? Neologisms, Netizens, and Nationalisms
Written by Hsin-I Sydney Yueh. Recently, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense rejected a Japanese news report suggesting a widespread tendency among retired Taiwanese military officials to “sell out” their country. Wu Sz-Huai, a retired lieutenant general and incumbent opposition KMT party legislator, was among those who denounced this allegation.
“Are we Chinese spies (共諜)?” Wu angrily asked this rhetorical question during a session of the National Defense Committee at Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan on March 2, 2023. While Wu denied being a Chinese spy, Taiwanese netizens teased him by sharing a photo of Wu and other retired Taiwanese military officials attending a CCP-hosted event, where they had sat attentively and listened respectfully to China’s leader Xi Jinping in 2016. Wu’s use of the term “Chinese spies” reminds us of another similar expression in Mandarin Chinese: “allies of the CCP” (中共同路人). This expression has recently gone viral in Taiwan’s online communities, used for self-mockery and as an attacking label.
“Governing by Memes”: COVID-19, Conspiracy, and Digital Democracy in Taiwan
Written by Wen Liu and Hsin-I Sydney Yueh. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly rearranged our social relations and affective connections. Amid disinformation and virus-origin conspiracy theories circulating across the social landscape, governmental responses to the pandemic have included various public health measures, such as lockdowns and mask mandates, and political measures, such as escalating geopolitical conflicts between the United States and China. Around the world, fear has been one of the most prominent affective responses to the pandemic, as driven by disinformation practices, intensified geopolitics, and our raw psychic fear about the unknown.
Small Step from You, A Great Leap for Migrant Workers: Documentary, ‘Civil Society’ and ‘And Miles to Go Before I Sleep’ (2022)
Written by Hsin-Chin Evelyn Hsieh. The award for the best documentary feature at the 59th Golden Horse Awards held in November 2022 in Taipei, Taiwan, went to And Miles to Go Before I Sleep (2022), directed by Tsung-Lung Tsai. At the ceremony, film producer Kim Hong Nguyen, dressed in the Vietnamese traditional garment áo dài, read out a message from Quoc Phi Nguyen’s family expressing their grief and hopes. It was the first time a documentary on migrant workers was presented with the Golden Horse Award, thereby creating a platform for voiceless migrants and drawing attention to the related issues in mainstream society.
Her journey to the Best Actor award: Taiwanese Opera performer Chen Ya-Lan made the history
Written by Jasmine Yu-Hsing Chen. October 22, 2022, outside the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwanese Opera performer Chen Ya-Lan (陳亞蘭) astonished audience members on the red carpet for the 57th Golden Bell Awards (GBA). This annual award honours excellence in television and radio programs created in Taiwan. As a female performer, Chen broke records with her Best Leading Actor Award nomination.
Placing Relationship over the Project: Filmmaking in Oceania
Written by Cheng-Cheng Li. My filmmaking story in Oceania started with the Re/presenting Oceania course at the University of Hawai‘i. My Kumu (professor) Tarcisius Kabutaulake, who comes from the Solomon Islands, has been teaching and researching across the region for decades. His course invites me to critically engage with and discuss how the Pacific Islands have been represented in scholarly and other mediums. He brings me onto the ‘voyage’ across the ‘storyscapes’ of scholars, artists, performers, poets, and filmmakers to understand the politics of representation. This article will first discuss my filmmaking experience in Hawai‘i with the Pacific Island community. In the second section, with an increasing number of Indigenous Taiwanese wishing to connect with Oceania, I will address the interconnection story between Taiwanese Indigenous filmmakers and the Oceanic community. The theme of ‘relationship’ as ‘Priority’ will be interwoven into the stories.
What’s Exactly Wrong with Taiwanese Media?
Written by Ti Wei. To solve the Taiwanese media problem, the first step is to recognise that the problem is unique and not like any other case in the world. Moreover, this problem could not be explained by any Western theories. Therefore, we need to carefully clarify and re-examine the nature of the problem and study society and the audiences thoroughly. Then, based on the re-acquainted knowledge, we may draw a new and reflective plan for rebuilding the media system. The only thing for sure is that it is neither commercial nor public in the Western sense. In addition, the latest development of media platformatisation and the new audience generation should be considered. The task is tough, but any endeavour to pay should be worthy when we think of how much hardship Taiwanese media have been through.
Taiwan’s Enduring Controversy on Absentee Voting and the Role of Media
Written by Julia Marinaccio and Jens Damm. However, Taiwanese journalism also did its share. Like the political party system, Taiwan’s existing media landscape is ideologically divided over the question of how to fashion cross-Strait relations. Through their ideological orientation paired with a lack of investigative journalism, they act as mouthpieces of political parties. In doing so, they reinforce existing political cleavages rather than exercising their role as informants and watchdogs.
OTT in Taiwan: How Global Platforms Meet Local Productions and Politics
Written by Yu-peng Lin and Chang-de Liu. The development of over-the-top (OTT) media services is currently the main concern of Taiwan’s audiovisual industries. An OTT media service is an audiovisual streaming service provided directly to the audience by the Internet. The Taiwanese government wishes to strengthen this industry while also seeking balanced growth for international and local operators. For the latter, how to accelerate the production of their content in the face of global competition is the biggest concern. Furthermore, given the recent success of the Asian market, international operators are interested in co-producing content with Taiwanese companies.
A Sketch of Taiwan’s Digital News Media Landscape in the Twenty-first Century
Written by Ming-yeh T. Rawnsley; Yuan-hui Hu; Victoria Y. Chen; and Lihyun Lin. Crowdfunded journalism is no longer unfamiliar to Taiwanese people who care about the media ecosystem. Although journalism in Taiwan has been challenged by the powerful influences of political and business alliances in the news industry and the constant impact of ever-changing technological advances, crowdfunded journalism has provided a fresh possibility and lent financial assistance to independent media organisations and citizen journalism. All these undoubtedly positively affect the reconstruction of Taiwan’s news and media industry.
Memes and Milk Tea Alliances: Ludic activism in Taiwan in 2021
Written by Genevieve Leung. The Milk Tea Alliance was formed when Mainland Chinese social media users attacked two Thai celebrities to support pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and Taiwan independence activists. Thai social media users deployed humour to combat the attacks, and Taiwan and Hong Kong users joined in, using the shared custom of drinking milk tea, along with various minoritized statuses, as the cohesive forces that “naturally” drew them together.
Celebrity and Spokes-character Endorsement in Taiwan
Written by En-Chi Chang. ‘I started my day by putting on my Uniqlo LifeWear coat endorsed by Vivian Hsu. Then I headed out and stopped by 7-Eleven to buy a cup of City Coffee endorsed by Gui, Lun-Mei (桂綸鎂) for breakfast. Then, rushing to the MRT station, I used Open-chan(Open將) iCash card to take the MRT train to work. Though I do not have an ASUS ROG 5 designed by Nyjah Huston, my ACER endorsed by GBOYSWAG (鼓鼓) was just fine for work. After work, I decided to treat myself to a nice dinner at Eatogether endorsed by Accusefive (五告人). Then I went home and treated myself with a round of massage on my Fuji Massage chair endorsed by Ariel Lin (林依晨) while playing the game ‘Lineage II’ (天堂II) endorsed by Takeshi Kaneshiro (金城武).’